November 26, 2013
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane & District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis announce capture of fugitive with pipe bomb at Luzerne County meth lab
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane and Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis announced that a wanted fugitive in Luzerne County was apprehended and arrested. The suspect has been charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction - among other offenses -- after a pipe bomb was discovered upon search of the property where he was found.
The raid of the Salem Township residence also resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine lab components, as well as weapons. In addition to various firearms, agents on-the-scene found an externally threaded metal pipe-bomb with five active blasting caps and other bomb-making materials.
In April 2012, Christopher Cragle, 36, of Sweet Valley, was arrested in a methamphetamine lab raid by agents of the Office of the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigations. After posting bail for that arrest, he failed to appear for a hearing, took flight and had eluded authorities.
Cragle was located by United States Marshalls and the Office of Attorney General's agents at 51 Sleepy Hollow Road in Salem Township after they received a tip he had been living there.
During the arrest, agents produced a search warrant and seized various components used to manufacture methamphetamine, including red phosphorus, as well as a 9mm pistol and a .233-caliber rifle. Additionally, while searching, investigators located a pipe bomb with five, active blasting caps, as well as other bomb-making components.
"After many months on the run, Luzerne County is a safer place now that Christopher Cragle is no longer a threat to this community," Attorney General Kane said. "Cragle has no respect for the law or public safety and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Not only do we allege he broke the laws of Pennsylvania, but at the same time, he endangered his neighbors and law enforcement."
Cragle is currently in the Luzerne County Jail after being arraigned this morning. Bail has been set at $50,000 cash.
The case will be prosecuted by Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Frank McCade, who approved the following charges: two counts of risking a catastrophe, one count of manufacture or possession of a weapon of mass destruction, one count of possessing a prohibited offensive weapon, one count of recklessly endangering another, and one count each of manufacture of methamphetamine, of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, of possession of methamphetamine, of possession of precursor chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, and of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane thanked the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Team, the Pennsylvania State Police Hazardous Device and Explosives Section, the United States Marshalls, the Attorney General's Special Operations Group (SOG), and the Salem Township Volunteer Fire Department for their assistance with the investigation.